My 4y/o son is always playing with his 5y/o sister's toys. How do I correct this??

Rita - posted on 09/07/2012 ( 268 moms have responded )

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I am really having issues with this. I am a single mom and he does have his own toys but he always wants hers. I use positive corrective measures with him but it's not working.

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/07/2012

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Really, Natasha? Really? Get with the 21st century here. Men are no longer simply the "tough, emotionless breadwinners". They are dads, cooks, maids, and everything else that moms are. Those men who've been raised from the beginning to understand compassion, caring, and nurturing are far better off in the world of today.

Dove - posted on 09/07/2012

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A 4 year old boy is not a man. A 4 year old boy is a child and a child should be allowed to play with a variety of toys without being pigeon holed. Not allowing a child to be who he is is what gets them hiding in the closet building bombs... pushing them into YOUR idea of what is acceptable is what 'causes' that.



The implication that men are incapable of being nurturing is ludicrous. My son is 'tough' and 'strong willed' (go ahead and try to get him to do ANYTHING he doesn't want to do)... and yes, he plays with dolls... and trucks.... and dinosaurs.... and kitchen toys.... and legos.... etc... He is a KID.

Susan (Jimmie's Aunt Susie) - posted on 09/07/2012

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Natasha, do you have a degree in Early Childhood Development? I do. Playing with dolls, dishes etc is fine for boys and playing with cars, trucks etc is fine for girls. One of the most important things for parents to do is to read to their children. It is also important to talk with them but not call them stupid, dumb or any other derogatory word. It takes 10 positive comments to undo every negative one a child hears. Being told they can't play with something because it's not for boys, or not for girls, is derogatory, sexist and damaging. What causes someone to "hide in closets and build bombs" is mental illness. Two possible causes for mental illness are organic problems (meaning they have a natural predisposition to that illness due to issues such as chemical imbalance or genetics) and being mistreated. Mental illness has nothing to do with playing with toys that are supposedly for the opposite gender.. Men can be nurturing, women can be "tough". Trying to fit every single person into a set of narrow minded ideas is definitely not helpful. Rita, it's perfectly natural for a child to want to play with their brother or sister's things. At 4, most kids still have the "What's mine is mine. What's yours is mine. What's hers is mine. What's his is mine. It's ALL mine." way of looking at things. Chances are, if you give him his own dolls, he'll grow tired of them soon. If not, then there is nothing wrong with that either. You are doing the best you can and it sounds like you are a great mom.

Jan - posted on 09/07/2012

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When my son was little he wanted a kitchen, so he could cook "Like Daddy Does" and members of the family were questioning my wisdom in buying him one, He also treated his Stuffed Animals and his "Babies" Again, I was questioned. but determined to let my son be what he was, I kept on. The result? He is now a healthy happy well adjusted 14 year old boy, who is gentle, loving, great with animals. and is definitely interested in Girls. BTW his best friends growing up were both boys and girls, all of whom he still stays friends with today. I would not worry about your son wanting to play with big sister's toys, he probably looks up to her, and wants to play with her.

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Janet - posted on 09/21/2012

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Janet Mighty,



It is going to be a year on dec 2012 when i bought the american girl itty bitty twin for may son and he wil be six nov this year. He is so cought up into other things like wrestlin and boy like games he doesnot remember him the same way when he first got it. Now his big sister who will be nine nxt yar is focused on school, friends and designs. Most the time then they have their own they do grow out of it. I realized when myself and his father stopped the negativity and worry he responded different , Like they say ITS A BOY!!!. .

Veliswa - posted on 09/21/2012

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He is just being a baby, that's what babies do. If it was the other way round the little girl would be playing with the older brother's toys, would you still be as worried? Let him be and do not worry yourself at all.

Susan - posted on 09/21/2012

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I think you are more upset that he is playing with dolls, rather than he is playing with his sister's toys. I have 4 grand-daughters and one grandson. My grandson is the youngest of the grandchildren and he, his sister and one of my other grand-daughters spent 5 to 6 days a week together at my house while their parents worked, before they started school. The children played dolls often and he would carry dolls, push strollers, rock the dolls and play along with the girls all day. One Christmas I bought him his own American boy doll. His dad was appalled, but my grandson loved it and slept with it all the time. Does it worry you that playing with dolls will make your son more feminine or possibly gay. It will not. My grandson loves going hunting with his dad and uncles, he loves fishing, baseball, riding his bicycle, watching spiderman movies, pretend sword fighting, and everything else little boys like doing. But, he also loves playing with his female relatives and snuggling with a stuffed toy or doll at night when he sleeps. It is quite okay for children to play different gender roles. My grand-daughter's pretend sword fight, pretend hunt, play spies, and play with tractors and cars with him. Children don't understand that we adults have gender rules, they just want to play and have fun. Let him have fun with his sister and with her toys and let her join in with him and play with his toys.

Janet - posted on 09/21/2012

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Janet Mighty

My son loved his sister american girl doll so I got the itty bitty twins with a boy doll. Really, he will never stop loving his cars, train etc. He has a father. This is nothing to be a shamed of. This a growing process.

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Janet - posted on 09/21/2012

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Janet Mighty

My son loved his sister american girl doll so I got the itty bitty twins with a boy doll. Really, he will never stop loving his cars, train etc. He has a father. This is nothing to be a shamed of. This a growing process.

..

Kayla - posted on 09/21/2012

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Really what's wrong with it? You most likely want your kids to share anyway right? My boy is 3 and my daughter 5, she knows that she has to share her toys with him and he knows he has to share his toys with her.

Kristal - posted on 09/21/2012

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He just wants to play with her, and be a part of her world. Playing with her toys allows him that. I have three kids, girl 9, boy 5 and girl 1 - they all play with each other's toys...even the baby toys...to get into each other's worlds and play together. Don't fight it, encourage it! Like others said, get him some dolls so that he can be like big sister and not be "stealing her toys" (we hear that a lot at my house, too).



Enjoy the fact that he wants to play with her, and encourage her to feel the same...because there WILL come a time when that is not the norm!

Sarah - posted on 09/20/2012

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You seem very upset about this, I'm assuming because of gender issues? If that is your only reason, at 4, I think you're overestimating what a doll can do. I have a 13 year old daughter and an 8 year old son. He adored her and everything she did or had! He played with her toys, stole her pink blanket to sleep with, ate off of her 'girl' plate and he, at 8, is all boy! It has very little, if anything, to do with what the toys are, he's just learning how to play through emulation. Same way he learned to walk and talk, it's what children do. When he grows he will start to emulate friends and teachers, other men in his life. Now, at 4, he's emulating his family because that's the most important part of his young life. It has absolutely nothing to do with sexuality, I promise! My 8 year old now enjoys scaring his sister with bugs, jumping around corners, getting as dirty as possible while dressed in his best clothes, riding his bike fast and furious, mainly scaring us all to death! Your son is not showing any abnormal signs. You've got plenty of time to worry about plenty of other problems!

April - posted on 09/20/2012

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Maybe this is a case of "forbidden fruit." It may be that he wants to play with them because he's not supposed to. Maybe if you allowed some free play time (maybe 20 minutes a day) where brother and sister were encouraged to both share their toys, they could both learn a lesson about sharing while also getting that curiosity about the forbidden toys out of his system.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/19/2012

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SMH. You let them SHARE there toys! Who really gives a shit if it is a boy toy or a girl toy. Teaching them to share is more important than teaching them which toys are for which sex. They are all toys meant to be played with.

SHEREE - posted on 09/19/2012

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Turn it positive , teach him to be a good father through role.play, we teach our sons that playing with dolls is girls stuff , then we tell them to be good fathers and take care of their kids after we just told them that spending time with your children is bad because boys don't do that , time to reach and teach its up to us moms , aren't you mad about that piece of mess someone sent to your house...ok what are u going to so about it

Ladonna - posted on 09/19/2012

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I agree with Shawnn. Men should be well rounded individuals. Just like women. Forcing someone into a "gender" role will cause more issues then just letting a boy, or girl, be what they are and explore everything they want. Causing a child to feel shame for a question or interest that doesn't fall within mom or dad idea of "boy" is where the John Wayne Gassey's come from.

Gina - posted on 09/19/2012

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Also if you end up saying he's not allowed to play with something just because he may later on think something is wrong with him that builds insecurities be careful! Best thing is to buy him his own he will feel equal there's nothing wrong with wanting what his sister has he looks up to her.

[deleted account]

I have three kids, 1 girl and two boys, my daughter is 9 and my boys are 8 and 6. All three of my kids play with all of the toys in our house (boy toys and girl toys). As long as you express the roles of a male and female (put GOD first), you won't go wrong. By the way,,,,,get some toys for him (ones that he can call his own).

Tracy - posted on 09/19/2012

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There are a lot of responses, probably quite a majority like what I would say: Let him play with the girl stuff. It doesn't matter.



BUT, maybe this hasn't been said...? It sounds like your family consists of just you, your daughter and your son. Two girls, one boy. Did you ever stop to think that maybe he's just emulating (what ALL kids do at this age) the other people he loves? Don't blame him for being the only boy in the house and not emulating a male figure. My son played with all kinds of stuff, including kitchens, dolls, and less "masculine" things. He is nearly 16 now and loves hunting, wrestling, basketball, etc... He is very popular with the girls because he is not a complete macho jacka$$ like some guys who were taught the only way to be a MAN was to jump and punch and hit and yell (like my step-son who is 21). But don't push your son away from the things he sees you and his sister doing. He's emulating you because you are his role models and he loves you. If you tell him it's WRONG, then you are telling him that he isn't part of the family (because there is no one else to emulate).

[deleted account]

I have 4 kids ages 6, 4, 2, and 16 mo (1 girl and 3 boys if that matters) and they share all their toys. Kids need to learn to share. If they fight over a toy and are unable to come up with a way to share it, it gets taken away for a day.

Tristan - posted on 09/19/2012

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Let him (if it's o.k. with her). He is going to turn out to be the perfect him, just let him. Listen to what he tells you, not society. Just love him. As a single mother (when I was a single mother) I worried about my son, and worried that I was doing everything right. As a now married mother I still worry about all 4 of my kids.



If you are afraid that you son will be gay because you let him play with "girl" toys, you can't turn your child gay, he either is or he is not. All you can do is help him to feel loved and accepted. If he is gay, he will need your love and support all of his life, because some people do not see "gay" people as people.



Here is what I would like to pass on to you. With my first son Gabriel I worried about everything. I felt like I had to be in control at all times. It was important that he was perfect. He had to dress perfectly, he had to have perfect manners, and I had to be perfect. My oldest son Gabriel died due to injuries that he obtained in a car accident. I wished that I could go back in time and have a redo. I realized that it is important that he have nice clothes, that he have good manners, but all that is really important is to love "him", to allow him to be his authentic self. That is what I do with my 4 younger children. Gabe taught me a lesson, a very hard taught lesson, children are a gift, and I need to treat them as they are.



Follow your child's lead. Let him tell you what toys he wants. If it makes you feel better, buy him a "boy" doll, or a masculine tea set, but let him have the things that make him happy. he will be a happier child, and with a happier child, you will be a happier parent, and being a single parent is hard enough!

Kelly - posted on 09/19/2012

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I have three kids. One 9 year old boy, a 7 year old girl and a 5 year old girl. A 4 year old is going to want whatever toys any other kid around them have. It doesn't matter what it is. However, I do not believe it would be in the best interest for you to buy your son a girls doll. My ex husbands mother bought he and his brother Barbies when they were kids. Overall, they're a pretty screwed up family. Just saying. That's why he's an EX. My advice would be to encourage your daughter to play with his toys in front of him and he will more than likely want it. Then, she can go back to her toys once he is interested in having his own back. Good luck. :)

[deleted account]

You can turn this on it's head and realise that he's learning some useful life skills from playing with his sister and her toys. Encourage both of them to share the toys. By letting your son play with 'girl' toys it shows that you respect his current set of choices - to children toys are toys.



I've got three daughters and I've never been one for getting them lots of 'girl' toys - yes they've had their dressing up stuff, stuffed animals, 'cooking' things and jigsaws. I've never bought them a barbie or bratz (as the former I don't like the body image that she gives out - big cleveage, small waist. Bratz - just never really liked them). They have lots of books, jigsaws, connect 4, monopoly type games.

Kerrie - posted on 09/18/2012

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I have boy/girl twins and my girl played with my sons toys and my son played with my daughters toys. They are 12 now and very well adjusted pre-teens. I did not see a problem with them playing with each others toys.

Pamela - posted on 09/18/2012

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Buy him the same toys as he is always choosing from hers. Give his toys to her and see what happens. It might give you a laugh. It could be something as simple as sibling rivalry or she just might have toys that appeal to him.



If you can afford to get duplicates do so. Then put their names of them in an inconspicuous place so they can tell them apart. If it's dolls, don't worry, they are just considered for girls anymore, nor do they signify and gender disorientation!

Beverly - posted on 09/18/2012

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Why is thIs an issue? U are making it more an issue than it has to be just let him play w his sister

Keri - posted on 09/18/2012

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Is he playing with the toys she wants to play with? If not, I really don't see the problem.

Dawn - posted on 09/18/2012

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When my husband was a child he played with dolls and played house. He is a wonderful father now. Our kids range from 19 to 8 and he has been great with them, much better than all my friends husbands. He is much more nuturing than they are. Our 14 year old played with his sisters dolls when he was small and even let them dress him in girl clothes and put make up on him and paint his nails. He is 14 now, very well adjusted and very into girls. There is nothing wrong with a boy playing with girl toys, including dolls.

Telena - posted on 09/18/2012

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This is crazy. Why is it bad for boys to play with dolls? My son does. I just say it'll make him a good daddy one day. Cabbage patch even makes boy dolls now.

Angel Celese - posted on 09/18/2012

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my little brother did the same thing when i was little. my mother decided to buy him boy dolls, e grew out of them very fast. i wouldn't be super concerned. roll playing with dolls is great for imagination!

Beth - posted on 09/18/2012

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tell her to share, and tell him to share his toys. then let each of them choose 1 or two VERY special toys that ONLY they play with. they go away when friends come over, etc. there should be a pretty steep punishment for breaking that rule. but an equally steep punishment for not sharing.

Heather - posted on 09/18/2012

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I am beside myself!!! Seriously bombs, guns, "soft boys"? If you told me I couldn’t play with a shark or a porcupine and my sibling was doing it no matter what the consequence I would want to touch it because you told me not too. Kids will be kids and boys playing with dolls or girls playing in the mud don’t grow serial killers at all. There are so many factors and sitting with your kids and playing with them and being involved in their life you will grow beautiful healthy kids! I have a daughter who has SB and do you know what that’s like to go through?? Try teaching other people’s children the right way and wrong way to approach someone with a disability instead you’re fighting with the wrong way and right way to play with toys. Seriously it isn’t the children that come out wrong it’s us as parents not taking responsibility for our own children instead we blame everyone else. As a mom I find it my duty to teach others about my daughters disability and teach children to be kind and caring and ask questions it’s okay but if we are shunning kids from playing with dolls a stinken toy because it’s wrong what are they going to do when they come across a more difficult situation and they can’t come to you because you tell them what they want to do is wrong?

Colleen - posted on 09/18/2012

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I forgot to mention, when my oldest son was 2, I bought him a kitchen center with play food. When I told a co-worker this, she told me it was wrong since a kitchen was deemed a "girl" toy by society...she said more.... but still I let my son play with it and the next son too...and the next...in fact we had 3 kitchen centers and a playhouse in our basement at one time! All of my sons love to cook in the real kitchen and often make meals for the family.



I don't think such a big deal needs to be placed on toys for girls and toys for boys.



My son also had a play shopping cart and I'd set up empty boxes of real food along the shelf and he'd buy them, and I'd be the cashier ( remember one day he'll be a Daddy! And he needs to know this stuff too).

Colleen - posted on 09/18/2012

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I'm not sure why it bothers either of you...one day your son will more than likely be a Daddy! So if he's learning to care for something/one other than himself, I'd be proud not upset. Your daughter should be able to share her toys, have your son share his toys with her. Both children should learn to share their toys, this leads to sharing in games and in school too.



if your daughter has a special toy/doll that's fine, and your son can be taught that this one in particular he can't play with unless he asks, and of course your daughter can say no, as it's the special one ...



Perhaps you should buy your son a doll of his own; I don't think nuturing that side of his brain is a bad thing; in fact I wonder what message you're sending when you tell him he can't care for the doll !



I have had only sons. But two of my sons had stuffed toys, that they had clothing for (Build-a-bear) and played with, and played "house" with and had young friends come over and do the same. When my 3rd son came into the world, both brothers helped change him; since they had, lots of practice with their teddies/puppies (during play time).



There are boy dolls out there too.



Oh and both of my boys are very masculine now that they're older; no longer play with the stuffed animals in this way, and have turned out wonderfully. :-)

Brandi - posted on 09/18/2012

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I have a 9 year old boy and a 7 year old girl. Ever since my girl was born, my boy has always wanted to play with her dolls and he's older than her! He has even wanted do the extra-curriculars that she does (like dance, gymnastics, etc...) I don't worry about it... I figure, he WAS the baby then after having my daughter, it's almost like he was wanting to be the youngest again. When I got my daughter a cabbage patch doll, he wanted one so I got him a boy one. Then when I got her a LaLa Loopsy doll, he wanted one, so I got him a boy one and a blue-hair girl. Doesn't bother me one bit. He took gymnastics and dance for a little while... got bored with it and said "mom, I'm the only boy and it's boring" so we quit. But I didn't mind letting him try those things, frankly, even if he stuck with them, I wouldn't have minded. He still is definitely a boy... always dirty and lives on his bike too and he and my daughter are best friends... I just figure between not being the baby any more and wanting to do what his "best friend" does is why.

Fauziah - posted on 09/18/2012

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So leave him to it. His still young and he just wants the same as his big sister. Don't worry yourself, he will leave it in due time when he is ready.

Beth - posted on 09/18/2012

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My brother played with my sisters dolls when he was little, around the same age, and he is one of the "toughest" guys out there. Natasha, keep your ignorant comments to yourself. Oh, and your bad grammar. Maybe you should know what your talking about before you comment.

Lori - posted on 09/18/2012

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i hve 2older girls and 2 boys a n matte hat they awant to play with te others toys..........ven th babies so i wouldnt worry too much

Dawn - posted on 09/18/2012

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Encourage them to play together. There's not a thing wrong with a little boy playing with dolls or with a little girl playing with trucks. If you're fearful that it might indicate your son is homosexual, then that's a completely different problem - and it's not with your kid. As many clever ladies have pointed out already - and I have experienced - boys who play with dolls are more creative, loving, and kind than those who are forced to be removed from that impulse. Teach sharing, play WITH your son and daughter with the dolls (tea party?), and I think you'll find it's a fantastic "in" to a great relationship with both of them.

Lisa - posted on 09/18/2012

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Natasha Drane is an idiot. If you want to live in the stone age, then do it alone. I'm studying psychology, and there is NO evidence that a boy that plays with dolls will ever turn out the way you're painting them-it's quite the opposite, actually.

Rita, let your son play with dolls, dress up, or whatever he likes to do. Let him discover who he is and wants to be. There is no harm in letting him play with dolls. If it makes you THAT uncomfortable to have your son play with dolls then get him some male dolls-or go talk to a professional yourself and find out why you have such harsh ideals about your son playing with dolls.

My children are adults and my son played with dolls when he wanted, and my daughter was very much a tomboy-neither turned out to be a serial killer nor is either one gay, if that might be your concern. We give life to our children and we love them no matter what they do or are.

Hope - posted on 09/18/2012

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I'm having trouble finding your reasoning for correcting this. Are you afraid of something in particular? It seems to me you are correcting something that doesn't need to be corrected.....children try new things, play with different toys than perhaps "society" would originally label as a "girl" or "boy" toy. If you are gender biased, you might as well try to ignore that little voice inside your head because a kid is going to play with whatever he/she feels like playing with. You deciding for him takes the joy out of childhood entirely, at least that's the way I see it. When I was growing up- I played with cars and had more guy friends than girl friends. My older brother growing up would play with barbies and let me be the first to say, he is definitely NOT gay. If you fear that your son will somehow turn out to be gay, get that out of your mind immediately. Just because he is more interested in his sister's toys means absolutely nothing of that nature. In fact, he may be jealous that she has better toys. I dunno, just an idea. Please never correct something that isn't bad behavior.....because technically speaking, playing with his sister's toys isn't bad behavior. At least in my view.

Susan - posted on 09/18/2012

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Yes I say buy him a doll too!.. My daughter ( 3) kep wanting to play with cars, so I got her some..she now wants a race track for christmas..!

Naomi - posted on 09/18/2012

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Let him play with whatever type of toy he wants. If you are able to get him a doll of his own, go ahead. If your daughter is able to share, that is fine too. It will not harm him in any way to play with dolls.



Totally not related to this topic, but why do we only have helpful, nice, funny and encouraging as options to rate a post? I would like a few other options like closed-minded idiot or raving lunatic.

Jaki - posted on 09/18/2012

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I have two daughters and one son and he does the same too. But he only has two sisters and no brothers. So he sees his sisters play with them and that's who he plays with everyday day. Yes there r days he plays with his toys. He will grow out of it. Cuz now my 5 yr old hardly plays dolls now.

Deirdre - posted on 09/18/2012

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Ask yourself to truly examine your reasons that this is actually an issue for you!

He is 4, very little and trying new things out. Also

Since ofcourse he wil be interested in what his older sibling is doing that's normal, it just so happens that she is a girl. I your older child was a boy you probably wouldnt have

Written this. As parents we are supposed to let our kids show us what they want sober can help them. Let him play use his imagination flourish and he will learn to trust you and not feel judged by you. Whatever YOUR issues are with him playing with her toys they are YOUR issues and you are puttin them onto him. Take some time to look at your true reasons for even care about this. Bottom line your ate making a non-issue into a potentially psychologically damaging one

Melanie - posted on 09/18/2012

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what's wrong with him playing with her toys she can play with his can't she?

Meggy - posted on 09/18/2012

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Playing with dolls is very normal for litle boys!



I cannot think of ANY reason why a boy should not have dolls. My sons have dolls, pushchairs, a kitchen. I notice they don't play with them the way my neices did, they sometimes throw them around, and don't dress them or put them to bed etc, but they do love them! The are very boisterous and not the slightest bit 'soft', but they are sensitive and gentle with animals and small children, which cannot be a bad thing.

Carol - posted on 09/18/2012

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my little brother and i played dolls together and cars (thats whenever we both got along lol) and he even had his own cabbage patch doll he is a well adjusted young man of 27 served in the army for some time and now married driving trucks he was good with his nice and other kids thou him and his wife know they are both to selfish to have children but he never built bombs was far from gay so i dont stop any of my 3 boys playing with so called girls toys as i dont stop my 4yo little girl from playing with cars in fact i brought her her own pink cars just for her and before i had my girl i brought my boys baby dolls and all tipes of pretend play toys



so teach your DD to shear and get him some dolls just for him and teach them to play together its healthy and its the 21st century toys are toys let them play

JIESHRAE - posted on 09/18/2012

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Your son is fine... there is nothing wrong with him wanting to play with his sister's dolls. As a single mother you are supreme.... second in command the eldest. He is simply emulating those he admires most in his young life. Try getting your daughter to play with you....with his toys a few times... if not just wait til he goes to kindergarten.

Chaya - posted on 09/18/2012

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If you have the kids play togeher either with his toys or hers, (or boths) they'll be reasonably quiet, learn to get along, and have fun. No point in making an issue of it unless the toys get broken

Christy - posted on 09/17/2012

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what he plays with doesn't matter nearly as much as how he plays with it either. for example, teaching him to play non-feminine games with them might be helpful.

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